Three new plants for your 2019 garden and Humber Nurseries closes
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

October 28, 2018

Above,. Pinktastic Mini petunia; Wild Romance Red New Guinea impatiens; and Angelface Steel Blue Summer snapdragon. Below, Colorblaze Golden Dreams coleus; and Electric Sunshine tickseed. All photos courtesy the introducers.




Each year about this time the trade magazine Landscape Trades (published by the trade organization Landscape Ontario) previews some of the new introductions that Canadians gardeners will see available in their favourite garden centres. The first five of such for 2019 are listed here, and I shall likely carry on with another five annuals in the coming weeks.

Discover this Calibrachoa’s completely new three-dimensional colour pattern! Double PinkTastic from Selecta one, truly catches the eye thanks to two bicoloured pink-white circles of inner petals in each flower. MiniFamous® Double PinkTastic looks spectacular as a stand-alone item in a pot, but also works wonders in combined containers. Flowering from spring until autumn, this beauty with its novel bicoloured pattern produces new flowers over and over again and provides a fabulous summer backdrop.

Throughout the contest the FleuroStar judges in Europe were enchanted by the trendy pink-white colour combination and the bi-coloured inner petals sparking off comments such as: ‘Each flower looks like a mini-rose and is a single work of art’. Supported by the international retail experts on the judging panel who almost unanimously predicted high commercial potential for this Calibrachoa, the FleuroStar 2017/18 was awarded to PinkTastic.

Calibrachoa was named after Antonio de la Cal y Bracho, a 19th Century Mexican botanist. The species is closely related to Petunia, but displays major differences in appearance and fertilization. Anita Stöver, breeder at Selecta one said: “Ever since I started breeding Calibrachoa I had this vision of creating a rose-flowered Calibrachoa. I’ve greatly improved the rooting, branching and flowering period and when I finally selected this bi-coloured double Calibrachoa, I knew it was something special.”

The plant bears all fully double and two toned pink and white blooms that are about 2 cm in diameter.

My second pick for next spring is a red New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawker Wild Romance). The series included one with blush pink and one with white flowers. The originating seed company was from England: Drummen Orange. Now for this year they are adding ‘Wild Romance’.

Last year, they introduced the novel Wild Romance series, featuring flowers that resemble a rose as the bud opens and a gardenia when fully open. Now, Wild Romance Red joins the existing Blush Pink and White.

My third new plant for next spring in the ‘Annual’ category is Angelonia angustifolia or Angelface Steel Blue Summer snapdragon. Angelface® Angelonia are prized as vertical accent plants everywhere. Undoubtedly the finest Angelonia on the market today, Angelface are semi-upright with a good branching habit, have extra-large, brilliantly colored blooms, and thrive in hot, humid conditions.

Angelonia are heat-loving plants that will grow most vigorously and bloom best when the heat is on. They are plants best planted in mid-spring or later, since they won't really grow until the temperatures warm up. Angelonia will tolerate wet feet and a fair amount of drought. The plants are easy care with no deadheading needed. A bit of fertilizer or some compost in a garden bed is usually all that is needed for these plants to thrive. Due to their heat-loving nature they are one of the plants that can be planted even during the heat of mid-summer.

Don't forget that Angelface are great long lasting cut flowers with a slight grape soda fragrance. Try some in a flower arrangement this year and see for yourself!

An application of fertilizer or compost on garden beds and regular fertilization of plants in pots will help ensure the best possible performance.

My fourth new annual for next spring is Golden Dreams coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides). Solenostemon scutellarioides is native to southeast Asia and Malaysia. Growing to 60–75 cm (24–30 inches tall and wide, it is a bushy, woody-based evergreen perennial, widely grown for its highly decorative variegated leaves.

It has been assiduously hybridized over the years into a very large number of vegetatively propagated and seed propagated strains with an almost infinite number of leaf colour combinations including most colours of the spectrum except true blue.

Although Solenostemon scutellarioides plants are perennials, many growers treat them as temporary foliage plants, to be enjoyed and then discarded when past their best. This is because they are sometimes difficult to overwinter and also because they are easy to grow from cuttings. Their soft, rather thin leaves very considerably in shape, size and colour (which can be almost any shade of yellow, red, orange, green or brown or a mixture of three or more of these. Solenostemon scutellarioides plants have opposite leaves and blue to lilac colored flower spikes. Such flowers as they produce have little decorative value and are best nipped out when they are still developing; this procedure will help to keep the plants bushy.

Solenostemon scutellarioides has the most incredible foliage with colours and colour combinations that no other plant species can offer. The leaves are gorgeous with their frilly edges and unique colour patterns. These plants are easy-care, versatile and their foliage colour, again, can only be described as spectacular! They combine well with flowering annuals to create more texture and interest or it is a great stand-alone in a container or bed. These plants can be used for group or mass as garden annuals in beds and borders; pots, containers, window boxes, hanging baskets; houseplants.

Finally, the fifth new annual for 2019 is one of my favourites—a Tickseed (Coreopsis hybrid Electric Sunshine).

This beautiful new Coreopsis is a real stunner in the garden. Flowers beautifully from spring until late-fall in a non-stop display of colour. Allow plenty of space for it to achieve its full glory.

It is self-branching, with excellent vigor.

Use as a tender perennial in the south and an annual in the north.

Doesn’t require cleaning or cutback to flower.

Well–rooted and toned perennials are able to withstand transplant stress very well. Critical to success, provide newly transplanted perennials with immediate irrigation. Watering at the end of the transplant line rather than after you’ve filled a bed greatly improves uniformity of new root establishment. In any case, do not allow media surface to dry after transplant for the first several days until new roots are extending into the media. Perennials do not like to be planted too deep. Generally speaking, perennial liners should be planted level with the soil surface. .”

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Now here is some, what I consider not-so-good news. Humber Nurseries on Highway 50 in Brampton are closing for good at the end of this year! This is just a news flash and I’ll have more in the coming weeks.


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